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New World Transparent Specimens

A Tokyo artist combines man-made design with aquatic creatures for a series of vibrant displays of science

by Meghan Killeen in Culture on 03 December 2010

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Japanese artist Iori Tomita takes a colorful approach to highlighting the complex compositions of marine life creatures with his collection entitled “New World Transparent Specimens." Tomita was first introduced to the creation of transparent specimens for the scientific purpose of examining minuscule bone structure as an undergraduate student majoring in fisheries. The specimens' flesh is made translucent by a method that dissolves the creatures' natural proteins. The artistry of nature and man-made design converge when vibrant dyes are introduced to the delicate skeletal system. Selectively injecting red dye into the hard bones and blue into the softer bones, Tomita underscores the other worldliness of aquatic life.

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Calling upon his experience as a fisherman, Tomita continues to maintain a rapport with the fishing community by bartering his assistance in exchange for new marine creatures. Depending on its size, the process averages between four and six months to create each specimen, which are like a psychedelic version of Danish artist Stefan Dam's gorgeously creepy organisms.

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Recently exhibited at Design Festa in Tokyo and celebrated at the Tokyo Institute of Technology's Makezine event, Tomita's work will soon be on display again at the "Tokyo Mineral Show" from 10-13 December 2011 at Sunshine City.

"New World Transparent Specimens" are available for purchase through the the Japanese-based store Tokyu Hands for ¥2,000 to ¥20,000. To commission a specific aquatic animal, visit the New World Transparent Specimens website.

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